LOL Music EXCLUSIVE
By JOE NOOB
From halfway between Sheffield and the South Lakes...but not Manchester, comes a band rooted out of Newcastle, but written out of the “very rural and ruggedly beautiful” Lake District, a band that draws on American alternative country for their influence, but remains British at heart.
That band is Overspill Poets.
They grew up on The Smiths and Echo and The Bunnymen and many other great bands that wrote songs about living in Britain and say they “wanted to do the same so [they’ve]been trying to forge a sound that looks to the USA for inspiration but remains very British in character.”
Overspill Poets are made up of Tim Taylor [vocals] and George Kitching [guitars] and the rhythm section that consists of Kelvin Fendig and McGurk. However, Kitching says, “research suggests these characters have little basis in reality and are likely pseudonyms.” Alluding, perhaps, he is unwilling to “take the blame” for the bass and drum work.
They used to share a house in Newcastle, the most northern city in England and home to Kitchenware Records. “It was the site of many impromptu jam sessions, which ultimately sowed the seeds for Overspill Poets,” says Kitching.
The creation of Overspill Poets “was a long gestation,” says Kitching. He and Taylor initially took two different musical paths. “I joined a band a called Hug, who were inspired by the Madchester explosion to explore further the possibilities of mashing up dance grooves with indie guitar sounds. In a reaction to the host of Prefab Sprout and Martin Stephenson imitators that had swamped the local music scene Hug billed themselves as ‘the only band in Newcastle that don’t want to be on Kitchenware’. After signing to Kitchenware (almost inevitably), we released three e.p.s and an album, recorded sessions for the BBC, supported the likes of New FADs, Echo and The Bunnymen and Pavement and were hotly tipped by the NME but still deftly managed to side step any mainstream success,” says Kitching.
Meanwhile, Taylor had an unplugged residency at a late night bistro, where, according to Kitching, he wooed the late night revellers with energetic covers of REM, Elvis Costello and the Beatles’ back catalogue amongst other less celebrated fare.
Eventually, Hug split up and Tim moved back to Sheffield, where he is from, and Kitching moved to The Lake District in the North West of England. They kept in constant touch, and Kitching invested in some home studio equipment, as well as, spending the “time learning how to use it.”
Kitching says, “Tim would come and stay for days at a time and we’d just record. In the last year and a half, the initially disparate styles we were exploring started to coalesce into something resembling an album. A desire to remain independent and in charge of our own destinies prompted us to set up our own record label, Revenge Western records and we released Thompson Falls at the end of October.”
Being strictly a recording project, the Internet has served the Overspill Poets well. Kitching says, “The Internet has been almost the sole means we have used to promote music.” The band has a MySpace page, as well as taking advantage of sites such as Reverbnation and Facebook.
The Internet has also helped their label, Revenge Western records.
Kitching says the process was done “entirely through surfing for information and firing off emails and arranged digital distribution to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, eMusic, 7Digital, Napster, Rhapsody and many more through Ditto Music all on line. Even the physical distributors were found online.”
He says Internet radio has also provided them with airplay.
Though the band is mainly a recording project, they recently played an unplugged set for a Manchester radio station, after what Kitching describes as, “starting to hanker after performing the live material.”
Overspill Poets are not ruling out playing live, saying, “Hopefully, we might manage some acoustic shows next year with the possibility of some full band gigs in the future...we just need to track down McGurk and Fendig.”
Since Captain Pownzor said he could “well imagine they could drink just about any of their fans under the table.” The question rises, if we were to sit down for a drink with the band, what would we order?
“Tim is something of a wine connoisseur but I prefer a pint,” says Kitching. “Something sharp and hoppy, Hawkshead Lakeland Gold or Marston’s Old Empire are hard to beat. Or Lagavulin whisky – but I can rarely afford that.”
Check out the Captains review.
Listen to the Overspill Poets.